Lately I’ve been making up my own tier list in regards to how intelligent the Sonic cast is, as it’s an interesting thing to think about in my opinion. So now that it’s done, I’m gonna show my list to you guys and see what you think. Obviously not every character in the game universe is listed since that would take forever, and there were a few other characters who I wasn’t sure about.
What do you agree on? What do you disagree on? Or do you have your own intelligence tier list you would like to share? All responses are welcome. :)
GENIUS TIER Robotnik - Obviously.
Gerald - I realise that Ivo himself considered Gerald to be the greatest mind there ever was at the time of Adventure 2, and yeah, I can see why. However, I think the doctor’s own achievements - and the sheer amount of said achievements - have surpassed his grandaddy’s by THIS point in the series at least. (Also, Gerald’s dead, so it doesn’t matter either way.) All the same, Gerald was a very gifted man to have created a lifeform like Shadow, as well as other accomplishments like the Artificial Chaos and the Space Colony A.R.K. Especially when you remember that he lived during a time in which the world as a whole was much less advanced.
Tails - How many kids do you know who can create different types of highly advanced contraptions and vehicles like it’s nothing? Let alone fake Chaos Emeralds?
VERY HIGH TIER Wave - Her engineering prowess speaks for itself.
Rouge - Comes with the job. An expert in infiltration and hacking, a master of deception, and an expert treasure hunter. Given how she explained Soleanna’s monarchy system to Shadow at the drop of a hat, that would also indicate she’s well read and capable of remembering a large amount of info.
Blaze - More to do with implication, but she did once ask Tails if he can build a device that scans and analyses plasma and electromagnetic signals, in a tone that implied she knew what she was talking about.
HIGH TIER Sonic - Being able to avoid obstacles and fellow citizens with no issue at such insane speeds would imply that Sonic has a sharp mind and thought process. He’s also been shown on numerous occasions to adapt very quickly to unfamiliar situations, and his advice is usually profound in it’s simplicity.
Shadow - He doesn’t always have it right, but most of the time he’ll figure out what’s going on pretty quickly. And since the Black Arms incident, he’s also been wise to villainous trickery.
Erazor - Played his cards right from start to finish. Didn’t really make any especially stupid decisions, and made great use of what he had to work with.
Metal Sonic - Another one born out of implication, but given how he was created to be a match for Sonic in every way, I would assume Metal is just as clever as the real deal. He was pretty sharp in the OVA at least.
Merlina - She managed to keep Sonic distracted from her plan for long enough, all the while doing a competent job at portraying herself as a helpless bystander.
Zavok - He had a simple plan, but it was an effective one. He was also good at rolling with the punches whenever things didn’t go his way. Definitely the most intelligent of the Deadly Six. (Aside from maybe Master Zik, but that’s up for debate.)
Vector - Despite his occasionally bumbling attitude, he’s still the brains of the Chaotix at the end of the day, and his deduction skills have proven to be accurate most of the time. (Note how he correctly guessed that someone was pulling the Time Eater’s strings.)
AVERAGE TIER Knuckles - He may be incredibly gullible, but he also knows a lot about ancient history, and like Rouge, he’s a very skilled treasure hunter.
Espio - Maybe he should be higher, but we haven’t seen much to know for sure…
Amy - Can be ditzy at times, but generally has a good amount of common sense, and despite the lack of focus on it, her skill with tarot cards would add further evidence to her being far from stupid.
Marine - She was able to create a decent ship in spite of her boisterous personality.
Cream - Naturally her youthful innocence makes her a little naive, but she’s still prone to surprising moments of insightfulness.
Big - Some fans might think he should be lower, but one of the themes with Big is that he’s simple, not dumb (something Bioware clearly forgot, despite hyping their Big up as being more intelligent than SEGA’s Big). And given how we’ve seen him do things like piloting the Tornado - a plane he was unfamiliar with - without any obvious trouble, he may be more on-the-ball than most fans give him credit for.
LOW TIER Jet - He probably isn’t that stupid overall, but aside from his legitimate hoverboard skills, his arrogance makes him out to be a bit of a fool more often than not. Usually more bark than bite.
Silver - Despite his incredible powers and competence with using said powers, he’s proven to be very foolish, and doesn’t often plan things out that well.
Charmy - He has to be somewhat competent to still be working with the Chaotix, but he’s generally an airhead.
VERY LOW TIER Storm - Clueless individual in general. Mostly a yes-man through and through.
What makes Shadow difficult to write, in your opinion?
1 - Characters that are very fast in general are difficult to write.
Because being a speedster is in itself an extremely powerful ability and hence difficult to write in combat situations. I mean, if you’re too fast for slower and/or less skilled characters to hit before you take them out with that speed enabling you to do so, you’re almost untouchable.
Or if a slower, less powerful character has you by the figurative balls in a situation by holding someone hostage or taking a Macguffin, there’s little reason to be convinced that a speedster can’t handle the situation with their exceptional speed.
Which is why it’s so hard to write Shadow as well as Sonic. Look at Sonic for instance and the numerous moments where he has cutscene incompetence (He even provides the page’s image XD) particularly in Sonic Adventure wherein Dr Eggman regularly takes Chaos Emerald’s off of him…and he doesn’t put that speed to use in snatching them back off him to use, even sitting there and watching him feed it to Chaos.
2 - Compounding the above is Shadow’s extreme power.
Shadow is basically a lightning bruiser. When he’s set his sights on a goal, he is quite literally near-unstoppable because of his powers and his determination. So he doesn’t just have the power of speed making him hard to write as a vulnerable character in the physical aptitude stakes, he’s also got sheer strength as well as determination on his side too. And did I mention his ability to teleport? Not to mention his sheer resilience, ability to decimate anything in his path when taking off his inhibitor rings to apparently no ill effect (In the games at least. In X, he was very close to fainting out of strain after fighting Knuckles and dropping his inhibitors) and long-range attack in the form of Chaos Spear?
Characters are boring when their OPness predominates in every fight they’re in.
3 - His interactions with most of the cast have not been explored in great detail
Which leaves it pretty much entirely to the writer to conceptualize their own ways of believable interaction going by Shadow’s and the other character(s) traits.
4 - And Shadow’s personality in itself makes the above incredibly difficult to conceptualize.
He’s very serious, taciturn and introverted. Extremely businesslike. Also coldly honest and not inclined to get especially “pally” with most characters. Shadow is not the type to open-up easily to others. Which makes gradual development in making other characters grow on him very necessary.
5 - His character overall is hard to nail without making him somewhat unlikeable.
He’s even mildly contemptuous of Sonic probably because Sonic’s jovial nature possibly annoys him. He’s
not really a team player unless others (Like Rouge and Omega) have
gained his loyalty and even with Rouge he does not indulge her small
talk i.e Stating that his duty was to rescue her and nothing more after White Acropolis in ‘06 when she instigates conversation about the Scepter of Darkness.
Because of his cold honesty, he is extremely straight-talking.
Shadow in short has very real presence but not quite in the way that the series’ other characters do. Most Sonic characters have….”bold” characterization. Shadow’s is much more subtle. He’s not in your face. Because of his aforementioned taciturn character, he’s quiet and hence not often at the forefront.
How do you think a game in which the main characters are Sonic and Shadow would be? Mostly regarding how their relationship would develop and affect their quest (Ex: conflicts with their views, teamwork, etc)
This is such a fascinating question…
I suppose that from time to time, they’d butt heads over how to approach a situation. With Sonic calling-out Shadow’s perhaps overly pragmatic and violent in the process approach and Shadow calling-out Sonic doing so and not being….”productive” enough by taking a less aggressive approach.
Sonic’s lighthearted, jovial nature outside of when he’s focusing directly on the challenge would likely get on Shadow’s nerves at first but it’s contagiousness might compel him to at least keep his chin up more in adversity and perhaps over time, smile more in a non-sardonic way.
Shadow’s solemn, taciturn attitude would likely rib Sonic enough to get him to tell him to put a smile on his kisser and taunt him over said traits. Much to Shadow’s irritance.
If Shadow gets in a bind, Sonic would help him because they were allies. If Sonic gets in a bind, Shadow would (Grudgingly if it was a result of Sonic being impulsive) help him either without a word or to chastise him. Which would likely lead to an argument as Sonic likely wouldn’t take that lying down.
If the subject of why they’re working together came up, maybe Sonic would simply smile and say “Why not?” whilst Shadow would perhaps remain quiet and be reluctant to admit his possible belief that despite his foibles, Sonic is still a pretty powerful ally. Sonic’s jaw would probably drop at that given Shadow’s past assurances of his own superiority.
I seriously doubt that Sonic would press Shadow for intel about his life before the ARK incident and what Maria was like if he was reluctant to reveal it in detail but if Shadow decided to, I think Sonic would be sympathetic and gain a new insight into why Shadow is the way he is. He’d probably still grill him over his misanthropy despite what happened to him that influenced him to dislike humans.
I must say, this is one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking asks I’ve ever gotten. Now I want to write a fic that has this premise to explore these things XD.